That was 16 years ago. I have been working full time for over 7 years now. There were many steps I needed to take in order to achieve my goal of working full time again.
First of all, I had to learn to be medication compliant. Early on, I took whatever medication that was prescribed for me regardless of how it made me feel. When I was hypo-manic I would think I didn’t needs my meds any more so I would stop taking them. That was a big no-no. I have been medication compliant for 10 years now. Once in a while it requires some tweaking but for the most part it works for me so I don’t mess with it.
Secondly, I sought help in the community. I attended peer support groups at my local hospital or through CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association). These groups were the only place I felt comfortable talking about what was really going on in my head and in my life. At the same time, I met with a social worker every month for a few years.
Thirdly, I learned everything I could about bipolar disorder. I accomplished this by reading books written by experts in the field or by others who had learned to manage bipolar disorder effectively. Learning from others who were a little bit further on in their recovery gave me a lot of hope. I knew that somehow, someway, someday, I would make this illness work for me and not against me.
In the last 10 years I have come full circle. I am back to being that energetic, happy, carefree person that I was as a teenager before being diagnosed with depression and then bipolar disorder. I have family that care about me. I have friends to do fun activities with. I have hobbies. I am financially stable. I continue to work on becoming more physically fit now that my mental health is in order. But most of all, I have faith. Through all the ups and downs of mania and depression in the last 20 years I always relied on my faith in a higher power to get me to where I am today.
Like me, you may have trouble at first accepting the fact that you have bipolar disorder. Once you deal with the initial shock it’s important that you learn how to manage this illness. Don’t let anyone else determine your destiny.
You don’t need to go this alone. Reach out and get support wherever you can get it. When depression or mania interrupt your life, keep your goals forefront in your mind. My goal was to work full time again. I have succeeded.
As of this writing I have had to modify my work schedule. I am now working from home as a Remote Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper and also as a Writer. I do Keynote Speeches as opportunities present themselves. Much like a person with a physical disability needs accommodations made for them at work, I need accommodations. Those accommodations are that I need to work from home or in a very quiet environment. I am happiest when I take small breaks during the day to enjoy my backyard and vegetable garden.
My home is where I live, work & play.